The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 02-28-15

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 at 5:40 pm by

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

wizard-of-oz-curtain

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/wizard-of-oz-curtain.jpg

A remark made by Barbara Harvey at her BDS presentation two weeks ago still sticks in our collective craw: in response to a question, she said “What is being criticized [by the BDS movement] is not a people”. What is being criticized, she clarified, is “[Israeli] state official policy.”

This brought to our minds the observation by Paul Eisen, who wonders why Jews are seemingly shielded from responsibility for the crimes committed on behalf of a Jewish state by Jewish soldiers using weapons adorned with Jewish religious symbols and with the full support and complicity of every mainstream Jewish organization. Ref: Jewish Power.

Cleary we have a tug of war here: Ms. Harvey is warning people not to peer behind the curtain of Jews acting collectively, and Mr. Eisen is calling the question. Since Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends has identified local Jews as a collective part of the problem and hold our protests at a Jewish House of WARship, we clearly see that Mr. Eisen has opened a can of worms that Ms. Harvey would like immediately and permanently closed.

Are Jews to be held responsible for their support of the crimes of the Jewish state? Enter Jewish peace groups: Jewish Voice for Peace (Ms. Harvey is a local leader), International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Israeli Coalition Against House Demolition, Jews for a Free Palestine, Code Pink, etc. They contrast themselves from their co-tribalist pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federations, but both sides clearly indicate a preference for the continued existence of a Jewish state, and certainly side with Ms. Harvey’s answer, with implication: Say what you will about the state of Israel, but don’t you EVER hold Jews accountable for their part in supporting that state.

This sounds a little suspicious to we who hold vigils on Saturday mornings. Who supports the Jewish state more than “the Jews”? Are we allowed to say that? To think it? Does JVP and the BDS movement wish to reduce violence in Palestine, while maintaining Jewish control over the discourse? Is that their main function? Are they the man behind the curtain and we little Toto?

Heavens to Murgatroyd! What shall we do if Jews are somehow responsible for their support of crimes committed by the Jewish state? Will the world cease to exist? Will it draw attention to “anti-semitic” attitudes which just may have roots in collective Jewish behavior? Is learning from past history somehow a key to understanding current anti-Jewish behavior? Can we use this history to chart a different course for Jews or will we be content to wait for the “peasant’s axe” to fall once more?

Hiding behind the curtain solves nothing.

JWPF members Visit Berrien County Courthouse (again)

Two members of JWPF traveled to Benton Harbor to hear Judge Sterling Schrock dismiss at least four of the five legal considerations before him in the case of our friend Reverend Edward Pinkney. Ed has been incarcerated at the Marquette Branch Prison under the Michigan Department of Corrections, 500 miles away from friends and family for the past two months. He appeared well and was obviously moved by the attendance at this legal proceeding. About 60 supporters from across the state showed up for Ed. Mark Fancher of the Michigan ACLU delivered their amicus brief in support of allowing Ed free on bond. Request was denied by Judge Shrock.

What we heard: Pinkney attorney Tat Parish asked prosecutor Mike Sepic to state briefly the direct evidence which linked Ed to the changed dates on some recall petitions, and Sepic refused, saying that the jury already decided, and when you take motive into account with the circumstantial evidence, that “tells us who did this”. Local newspaper article here.

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Three vigilers, 4 degrees
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
End Jewish Supremacism

Report on Beth Israel vigil 02-21-15

Posted on February 22nd, 2015 at 4:41 pm by

Are Jews Manipulating the BDS Movement?

Three members of JWPF attended a presentation by Barbara Harvey, a Jewish leader of Jewish Voice for Peace and ostensible supporter of the BDS movement, to students at Eastern Michigan University at the request of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

Barbara is a good speaker and focused her talk on the “occupation” of Palestine and was specific that Palestine meant the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. She said that the goal of the BDS movement was to continue “until [Israel] ends the occupation”. It wasn’t until this writer reminded her that the real goal of the BDS movement is a three-pronged demand of which ending the military occupation is only one-third, did she confess yes, that the demands of the BDS movement included (a) equal rights for Palestinians living within the Green Line and (b) the implementation of the Right of Return for millions of Palestinians exiled by the Jewish state from their homeland.

Then she talked about a “negotiated” settlement to the refugee question, as if rights are negotiable, yet alone enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She noted – as did the whistling-past-the-graveyard Professor Cary Nelson – that Israel “isn’t going anywhere”, and we wonder again why the compulsion for Jewish leaders to remind their audience of this assumption. It is likely that “Israel” did not exist when Ms. Harvey was born, yet in 66 years of its existence she’s willing to speculate – using terms meant to convey fact – that this state, non-existent in 1947, will last forever. Can someone provide us the definition of “chutzpah?”

Since her presentation was informal, I brought up the statement made by Rebecca Wilkommerson (executive director of JVP) that “The occupation, with US military and financial support is the root cause” of the violence in Palestine. I tried to ask her if a better explanation wasn’t “The root cause of the conflict in Palestine-Israel is the creation and maintenance by force of a Jewish state in a territory with a non-Jewish majority?” She cut me off in mid-sentence, however, claiming she wanted to continue her report on the “successes” of the BDS movement.

One man asked whether the implementation of all three prongs of the BDS demands wouldn’t lead to the “unwinding” of the Jewish state, and her response was emotional: “The BDS goal is not to ‘destroy’ Israel”. I spoke up and reminded her that the questioner used the word “unwind” and not “destroy”, but it appears very telling that Jewish speakers hear “destruction” when it is not uttered. Perhaps Gilad Atzmon is right when he suggests that Jews experience a false PTSD (Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder: “the stress is the outcome of a phantasmic event, an imaginary episode set in the future; an event that has never taken place.”), yet remain leaders in the “liberation” movement they have renamed “solidarity”. Now what the heck does that mean?

Barbara listed some companies that have been financially affected by the BDS movement: Elbit, Caterpillar, Veolia and Motorola. She focused on Soda Stream and reported its imminent closing of its West Bank facility and relocation within Green Line Israel. I asked if the BDS movement would continue to boycott Soda Stream and she answered that some groups would continue and others would not. Now, wait a minute! That doesn’t sound like the original BDS call to us. Let’s quote the source, www.bdsmovement.net

In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.

According to Ms. Harvey, this suggests that companies that crawl back into their hole of the Jewish state within the Green Line deserve an unrecognized sanctuary from the BDS movement that she is falsely representing. The question is open for activists: Do we tolerate this re-write of the movement’s goals or call out Jewish leaders for what appears to be the hidden agenda of protecting Jews and the Jewish state?

Does Barbara support Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state? Two of us stayed after to ask this question and to her credit she replied in the negative. But who, outside of readers of this report, knows this? We asked if this was the position of JVP, and she responded that she didn’t think so. Sounds confusing, yes? Maybe it’s supposed to be. Diligent readers of these reports can remember Anna Baltzer, National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, admitting to a small audience in the basement of a local church that she, too didn’t support this claim. But try to find Anna’s or Barbara’s public refutation of Israel’s “right” to exist as a Jewish state.

There are serious problems with a movement to liberate a country led by members of the same ethnic/religious group that is ethnically cleansing that country. We are reminded that Malcolm X refused to allow sympathetic white voices to lead the movement for black liberation in the US. Why do complacent non-Jews extol and honor the Jewish voice when it appears pregnant with hidden agendas?

Comments?

Feb 7: Four vigilers
Feb 14: Four vigilers
Feb 21: Five vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
“It’s the Jews, Stupid!”

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-31-15

Posted on February 6th, 2015 at 1:55 pm by

Why say “Jewish” when you can say “White” (and dodge responsibility)?

Pictured below is Anna Baltzer, peace activist and National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, She’s holding a sign reading “Challenge White Supremacy”. Sounds like a reasonable claim, until you visit her own web page and find out Anna is Jewish, and in the first paragraph reminds her visitors of “the type of persecution that had plagued families like mine throughout history”.

Two things of note here: First, by informing visitors that she’s Jewish, she utilizes basic Jewish Power (“as a Jew …”) without identifying, nor challenging, that power. Second: she lays the “Jews as eternal, innocent victim” card right on the table before the betting has even begun.

Baltzer
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/Baltzer.jpg

So why are Jewish activists (Anna is certainly not alone, and this report is not intended attack her personally) claiming that we must fight “white supremacy” when the state they are purportedly criticizing is a “Jewish” state? Why does the Jewish Anna feel it proper to challenge white supremacy when it is the Jewish supremacists in her own community that openly and actively support the supremacy of the Jewish State?

Anna must certainly know that Theodore Herzl wrote “Der Judenstaat”, and not “Der Weißenstaat”. She must know that Israel’s own Declaration of Statehood proclaims “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the state of Israel.” She must be aware that white Americans cannot make Aliyah to the Jewish state unless they are Jewish. It wouldn’t make much sense for white non-Jews to attempt Aliyah, because IT IS NOT THE WHITE STATE. White Christians can be Zionists, but they – unlike Anna – can not be citizens of the Jewish state.

Listen to what Malcolm X said when addressing sympathetic whites who wanted to join his movement: “Where the really sincere white people have got to do their ‘proving’ of themselves is not among the black victims, but out there on the battle lines of where America’s racism really is – and that’s in their own home communities.”*

Malcolm might have counseled Anna, thus: “Where really sincere American Jews have got have got to do their ‘proving’ of themselves is not among the Palestinian victims, but out there on the battle lines where Israel’s racism really is – and that’s in their own Jewish communities in the United States.” But Anna doesn’t do this. She and scores of other Jews in the peace movement have consistently avoided the responsibility of holding fellow Jews accountable for their support of the crimes of the Jewish state.

Eleven years ago, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends invited Anna to stand with us, and she refused, on two separate occasions. The last we looked there were at least seven synagogues in the St. Louis area, where Anna is located. Do any of these synagogues dispute Elliott Abrams’ observation, “Where is it possible to find a group of Jews who are committed to Israel, and whose children are likely to honor that commitment? The answer is, in a synagogue on the Sabbath”? Readers should inform us forthwith if any of these synagogues do not support Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state.

Maybe Anna is just trying to trick the St. Louis black community into believing that Jews share the same oppressed status as blacks, when American Jews like Anna experience extremely high rates of economic and educational success, and have disproportionate influence in public arenas such as banking, law, government, media and the arts, even in pro-Palestinian activism.

But whatever her reasons for carrying such a sign, she abandons her duty to challenge Jewish supremacy. She hides behind the mask of fighting the straw man called white supremacy. White supremacist South Africa was defeated three decades ago. It’s time that Jewish activists like Anna to set her sights on challenging the Jewish supremacism that surrounds her and work to peacefully dismantle the Jewish state.

Comments?

Four vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Free speech or selective speech?

* The Autobiography of Malcolm X, pp 383-384
(for an on-topic interview with Malcolm, click here)

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-24-15

Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 6:10 pm by

Winning

It’s no doubt that Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends is a small group. Our last report detailed how we are left out of Abe Foxman’s “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in the U.S.” Size must matter. But as a peace-with-justice group we accomplish a goal that no other group seems to do. We don’t “demand” anything. We’re not scrambling to cry “end the siege” every time the Jewish state viciously acts out, or any other topic du jour. We merely stand with a message that the world should not and cannot tolerate the existence of a militarized Jewish state on other people’s land. Oh, sure, we would terminate or move the vigils were Beth Israel to endorse the goals in the 2005 Palestinian call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions, but week in and week out, we’re out there – with noticeable support from passersby – stating the obvious: that the US can no longer tolerate its supposed “only friend in the Middle East.”

We remind the general public how our country has been taken over by a Lobby that seems to know no limits on what it can demand of our leaders. We call out the Jewish community for its support of a fanatical and cruel Jewish state. We use their turf as our turf.

And they don’t like it. JWPF has inverted the power pyramid by just appearing at the steps of Beth Israel Congregation and – while demanding nothing – expose some of the skeletons in the Jewish community’s closet. And as we demand nothing, the Congregation demands we leave. THEY want US to leave, recognizing who’s in the driver’s seat. Professor Victor Lieberman whistles past the graveyard when he advises us to take our protests to a political venue, ignoring the well-known and time-honored tradition of the synagogue using its own pulpit for political speech. He should listen to a sermon or two from Rabbi Rob Dobrusin or from Elliott Abrams.

The truth is winning and so are we. Armed only with the Constitution’s First Amendment and behaving in a 100% legal manner (some say we’re too old to run from the cops), we have become the ones whom the Congregation, the City, the Clergy, the faux peace groups like the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, beseech. They want us to go away, much like Jewish Zionists would like Palestinians to go away.

We’re not going. We like winning, and only hope that other peace-with-justice groups find ways to follow our example. The concept of winning has been absent from the peace community in this writer’s eyes. Many liberals eschew sports but that’s one place where the competitive juices are found. Often, as inspiration I’m reminded of a close friend and former defensive lineman for Michigan whose surgically repaired knees remind him of the tackles he made in the 1960’s for the sake of the team. Would he do it again? You betcha.

Winning: it’s what’s lacking. Let’s bring it back.

Comments?

January 17: Four vigilers
January 24: Four vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Je suis Dieudonne

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-10-15

Posted on January 14th, 2015 at 1:20 pm by

Open Letter to Abe Foxman

Once again, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends – despite our self-identification as “anti-Israel” – failed to make the Anti-Defamation League’s “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in the U.S.” list. So we sat down and penned the following letter to the ADL’s National Director Abe Foxman in hopes of correcting this egregious omission.

Abe Foxman,National Director
Anti-Defamation League
605 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10158

Dear Mr. Foxman,

As the founder of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, I would like to share with you the concern our group feels when we read the ADL’s 2013 “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in the U.S.” JWPF has identified as “anti-Israel” ever since Rabbi Rob Dobrusin of Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, labeled us as such in his op-ed letter to a local newspaper in 2007. Prior to that we identified only as “pro-Palestinian”. That was before we understood, as the Rabbi does, the zero-sum game at work, i.e. either Palestine lives or “Israel” does; there’s no sharing this trophy called Palestine.

Due to our small size, we’re not disappointed that we haven’t made the Top Ten list, but what rankles is that nine of the “top ten” groups you’ve listed are NOT anti-Israel. Only Neturei Karta rabbis, who pray for the peaceful dismantlement of the Jewish state, can be thus identified.

In fact four of the listed groups are Jewish-led (as you point out) and are PRO-Israel. They are

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism
CODEPINK: Women for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

None of the above groups identify as “anti-Israel” and all call for a “two-state solution”, which is about as Zionist a “solution” as one can imagine: Jews go HERE, non-Jews go THERE. Bingo! you have a Jewish state. To call these four groups “anti-Israel” can only mean someone at the ADL isn’t paying attention, and it’s your job – with our help – to set the record straight.

Additionally, one of these Top-Tenners – Friends of Sabeel-North America – regularly invite Zionist Jews to be keynote speakers at their gatherings. If that isn’t the fox guarding the hen house then we don’t know what is.

Back to describing our group a little for your consideration, seeing as how the 2014 “Top Ten” list has yet to be published and perhaps opening a slight chance for JWPF to be recognized: We have held peaceful vigils in front of a Zionist synagogue (is there any other kind?) for over eleven years. The local newspaper covered our group with a front-page story about a year and a half ago, including our picture above the fold:

JWPF Anti-Israel

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/JWPF%20Anti-Israel.jpg

You can read the story at the URL provided below if you need more verification of our bona fides. Or you can contact me at the email address supplied below. Please, Mr. Foxman, set the record straight and give our group the recognition it deserves.

Yours truly,
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Ann Arbor, Michigan
hersko@umich.edu

http://www.annarbor.com/news/beth-israel-congregants-reflect-on-10-years-of-protests-outside-synagogue-we-certainly-didnt-ask-for/

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January 3: Six vigilers
January 10: three vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Gas chambers? Tell us the truth!

Report on Beth Israel vigil 12-27-14

Posted on January 3rd, 2015 at 8:17 am by

Israeli Citizens in OUR Congress?

L. Michael Hager poses an important question in his Counterpunch article “Dual Citizens in Congress? Why It’s Important for Us to Know”. He received an indignant response when he asked a staffer at Massachusetts Senator John “Ed” Markey’s office to ask for help in identifying Members of Congress who hold dual citizenship with other countries. Taking the lead from Mike, I called my own (Jewish) Senator Carl Levin’s office in Detroit, identified myself by full name, and asked the staffer named George if Carl was a citizen of the state of Israel.

George (very firmly): “Senator Levin is a citizen of the United States.”
Me: “Yes I assumed that. My question was whether he was also a citizen of the state of Israel”
George (much louder): “Senator Levin is a citizen of the United States!”
Me: “I’ve identified myself with my full name. What’s yours?
George: “I’m the only George in the office”
Me: “And Carl Levin is not a citizen of Israel?”
George (really loud): “Senator Levin is a citizen of the United States!!”
Me: “And he’s not a citizen of Israel?”
George (right up there in volume): “No. He’s not. Senator Levin is a citizen of the United States!!!”
Me: “OK, thanks. That’s what I wanted to know”

Anybody convinced? This writer surely isn’t, and plans to exchange views, information and strategies with Mr. Hager later this month. Oh, it also comes from a reputable source that the online publication truthout.org refused to run Mike’s piece although they have run other articles by him. Interesting …

Armed only with Mike’s article and a burning interest in the loyalties of government officials, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends showcased our new sign this Saturday.

Israeli citizens in congress
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/Israeli%20citizens%20in%20congress%20-%20lg.jpg

Belated Report on Alison Weir Talk in Toledo

Seven JWPF members and supporters traveled to Toledo, Ohio on December 9 to hear an informative presentation by Alison Weir, President of the Council for the National Interest and Executive Director of If Americans Knew.org. Identifying the crimes of Israel as “one of the major ethnic cleansings of modern times”, she recounted many chapters of her book, Against our Better Judgment; How the US was used to create Israel. Some topics were: (a) the Bergson Boys – a clandestine group fronting for Zionists post WWI, (b) the Parushim – a secret organization boasting members such as then-current Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, and (c) the destruction of reputation of renowned reporter Dorothy Thompson by frustrated Zionists. And Alison did not flinch from loaded questions (e.g. “you don’t have a degree in history, do you?”) put to her by a member of what she referred to as “the usual ethnicity”. A similar talk to her Toledo presentation, given in Seattle, can be viewed here. Good job (as usual), Alison!

Comments?

Four vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Eight Million Dollars a DAY!!??

Report on Beth Israel vigil 12-20-14

Posted on December 23rd, 2014 at 10:52 am by

Taking a Lesson from Chris Rock

Millions of viewers have seen Chris Rock’s “How to not get your ass kicked by the police” video. His intro is:

People in the Black community often worry that we might be a victim of police brutality. So as a public service the Chris Rock Show proudly presents this educational video.

Have you ever been face to face with a police officer and wondered “Is he about to kick my ass?” Well, wonder no more. If you follow these easy tips you’ll be fine.

We in the peace movement, having been deceived countless times by Jews posing as anti-Zionists, have likewise wondered “Is this person the real deal? Is he/she truly a fighter for equal rights for Palestinians? Really refusing to be enemies?”

Well, wonder no more. If you use these simple questions you’ll be able to separate the true peace and justice activist from the Zionist pretender immediately.

First, ask yourself: Has this person stated or written that he/she unequivocally supports the Right of Return for ALL Palestinians – including their descendents – to return to the villages and cities from which they were displaced? Score it: Never: 0 points, Always 10 points, Mumbles something about ROR such as “it’s complex” but remains vague: 1 point

Second, ask yourself: Does this person reject the legitimacy of a Jewish state imposed and maintained by force? Score: Never: 0 points, always: 10 points, Mumbles something about troubling historical decisions unfavorable to Israel: 1 point

Third, ask yourself: Does this person interject the “Holocaust” in his/her presentations, blogs and/or writings without admitting that no one can produce a single wartime photograph of a homicidal gas chamber? Score: Always: 0 points, Never: 10 points, sometimes, albeit with crocodile tears in eyes: 1 point

Fourth, ask yourself: Has this person signed onto the “Jews for Justice for Germans” Facebook page, which demands, among other claims “We call on all Jews to demand that the interactions between Germans and Jews 1933-1945 be open to discussion in the same way as any other events in history”? Score: Has signed: 10 points, refuses to sign: 0 points, May consider signing at a future date: 1 point.

Finally, fifth, ask yourself: Does this person speak openly and frankly about Jewish Power and how it is implicated in a whole host of worldly ills, including endless war in the Mideast, world-wide banking upheaval and a media designed to distort the news while promoting Jewish interests? Score: Yes: 10 points, No: 0 points, says “I’m never speaking to you again”: -5 points.

So there it is. Add up the points and trust the Jewish person who scores 49 or more points.

Vigiler Ed Pinkney Sentenced to 2.5 to 10 Years

Two members of JWPF attended the sentencing of our friend, civil rights activist and co-vigiler Ed Pinkney in St. Joseph, Michigan Monday, Dec. 15. The mood of Ed’s followers were hopeful, even prayerful, before Judge Sterling Shrock called the court to order at 8:30 AM. But prayers were not answered, as Schrock meted out a two-and-a-half-year to ten-year sentence commencing immediately. Below is a photo of this writer and Ed prior to his handcuffing by the court’s bailiff. The definitive article describe Ed’s ordeal at the hands of a “politically motivated” court system by Abayomi Azikiwe can be found here.

Ed at sentencing-sm
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/Ed%20at%20sentencing.jpg

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Dec. 13 – seven vigilers
Dec. 20– six vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Expose Fifth Columnists in the Movement!

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